“Fast X,” the 10th installment in Universal’s high-octane franchise, powered to $320 million worldwide, including an uninspired $67.5 million in its domestic debut. It secured the second-biggest global opening weekend of the year following another Universal title, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($377 million).
Even though “Fast X” arrived on the higher end of projections, the action-adventure saga has been experiencing diminishing returns in North America. In terms of opening weekend ticket sales, the 10th chapter landed behind the latest entry, 2021’s “F9: The Fast Saga,” which kicked off to $70 million. And that was at a time when COVID era restrictions meant only 80% of theaters were open and attendance hadn’t yet rebounded. Pre-pandemic “Fast” installments were far bigger in their starts, including 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious” ($98 million debut), 2015’s “Furious 7” (a series-high $148 million debut) and 2013’s “Fast and Furious 6” ($97 million debut).
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But the mega-budgeted franchise has maintained its luster at the worldwide box office, thanks mostly to international audiences. With each new installment, overseas ticket sales have accounted for as much as 75% of its global tally. “Fast X” needs to continue that trend because the film is the most expensive entry so far, costing a gargantuan $340 million.
“What a tremendous global debut for this incredible, unique franchise,” says Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “Audiences were revved up to see their beloved ‘Fast’ family back in theaters with all the spectacular action and familial themes that resonate so well across the globe.”
At the international box office, “Fast X” revved to a mighty $251.39 million from 84 markets, including China ($78 million), Mexico ($16 million), France ($9.6 million) and Brazil ($9.6 million).
“Foreign [box office] is the series’ strength,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “These stories of good guys versus bad guys are understood everywhere around the world. This is excellent business for the genre, with outstanding international appeal.”
Directed by Louis Leterrier, “Fast X” follows Vin Diesel’s street racer Dom Toretto and crew as they confront a lethal opponent. In the process, they engage in many death and gravity-defying stunts. Critics and audiences were mixed on the film, which landed a “B+” CinemaScore and holds a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes. It helps, though, that there’s not a ton of direct competition on the horizon except for Sony’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” which opens in June.
Elsewhere, a series of holdovers filled out box office charts. In a distant second place, Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” added $32.8 million in its third weekend of release, a decline of just 47%. That’s an impressive hold for Marvel’s superhero adventure in the wake of “Fast X,” which appeals to a similar demographic of younger males. So far, “Vol. 3” has collected $267 million domestically and $659 million worldwide. It has ways to go to catch up to franchise predecessors, 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” ($773 million) and 2017’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” ($863 million).
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” took the No. 3 spot with $9.7 million, bringing its North American tally to $549 million. It’s still the biggest movie of the year with with $1.248 billion and crossed “The Incredibles 2” ($1.243 billion) to become the third-highest grossing animated movie ever.
“Book Club: The Next Chapter” landed in fourth place with $3 million from 3,513 venues, a 55% decline from its debut. After two weeks of release, the octogenarian comedy has grossed $13.1 million, a soft result given its $20 million budget.
“Evil Dead Rise,” a supernatural thriller sequel from Warner Bros. and New Line, rounded out the top five. Now in its fifth weekend of release, the movie added $2.3 million from 2,173 theaters. To date, “Evil Dead Rise” as earned $64 million in North America and $140 million worldwide, a solid turnout for a small-budget horror film.
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